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Last updated: Sep 23, 2013
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Does 1 Tim. Chapter 3 teach that a pastor who has a rebellious and unruly child should be disqualified from the ministry?
I believe we find the answer in the Greek words and verb tenses of 1 Tim. Chapter 3:
1 Tim. 3:1 - This [is] a true saying, If a man desire (not a bishop yet, but presently stretching forward to) the office of a bishop (Greek "episcopas" or overseer, one of the many titles for a pastor-teacher), he desireth (is presently desiring) a good work.
2. A bishop (pastor-teacher) then must be blameless, the husband of one wife (PRESENTLY the ONE WIFE TYPE OF HUSBAND, does not mean he HAS to be married, but he must not be a bigamist or adulterer), vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3. Not given to (not sitting long at) wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4. One that ruleth well (presently) his own house (household), having (presently) his children in subjection with all gravity;
5. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6. Not a novice (newly planted, or "green"), lest being lifted up with pride (raising a smoke screen) he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare (a baited trap) of the devil (diabolon - the accuser).
This passage specifically applies to a man who is not a pastor, but desires to be one. All the present tenses indicate the character desirable for a man to BECOME a pastor. You would not want to ORDAIN or CALL a man to your church that didn't fit these requirements.
Now, secondarily, if a man is ALREADY a pastor, these are good guidelines for whether you would want to call the man to pastor your church.
If a man is ALREADY the pastor of your church, we assume that he met ALL the criteria of this passage before he was called to be your pastor. If he begins to violate any of these criteria while he is in a pastorate, it would be grounds for the deacons to meet and discuss replacing him.
I believe this passage teaches that a pastor is qualified for the ministry as long as the pastor is PRESENTLY meeting the requirements of 1 Tim. chap. 3.
And yes, by all means, a pastor can have an older child go bad, or he could go through a divorce, and many have, even though he has done his best as a parent or husband, while he meets ALL the criteria in our passage. That should not be considered a failure on his part, if he has done all he can do.
This is a matter that requires much prayer and guidance from the Lord. I hope this is a satisfactory answer. These are my views of what this passage teaches from the New Testament Greek.